January 6

1695 Giuseppe Sammartini – Italian composer and oboist (d.1750); most of his professional life was spent in London and in the employ of Frederick, Prince of Wales (heir apparent to the British throne); had a younger brother, Giovanni Battista Sammartini, who also became a renowned composer and oboist.

1838 Max Bruch – German composer and conductor (d.1920); his complex and always well-structured works, squarely in the German 19th century tradition, placed him in the camp of Romantic classicism exemplified by Johannes Brahms, rather than the opposing ‘New Music’ of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner; in his time known primarily as a choral composer.

1850 Xaver Scharwenka – German-Polish composer, pianist and teacher (d.1924); his four piano concertos are substantial works, and the First is the least obscure: though written in 1874, its first recording was not made until 1968 with Earl Wild and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf; Wild had learned the concerto under Selmar Janson, who had studied it directly with the composer; when Leinsdorf asked Wild to record the concerto, the pianist was able to say "I've been waiting by the phone for forty years for someone to ask me to play this".

1856 Giuseppe Martucci – Italian composer, conductor, pianist and teacher (d.1909); helped to introduce Wagner's operas to Italy and also gave important early concerts of English music there; unusually among Italian composers of his generation, he wrote no operas.

1872 Alexander Scriabin – Russian composer and pianist (d.1915); one of the most innovative and most controversial of early modern composers; developed a substantially atonal and dissonant musical system an expression of his personal brand of mysticism; was also influenced by synesthesia, and associated colors with the various harmonic tones of his atonal scale, and his color-coded circle of fifths was also influenced by theosophy; considered by some to be the main Russian Symbolist composer.

1950 first performance of Francis Poulenc’s Piano Concerto, in Boston, by the Boston Symphony conducted by Charles Munch with the composer as soloist.

1967 first performance of Elliott Carter’s Piano Concerto, by the Boston Symphony conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, with Jacob Lateiner as soloist.

1991 first performance of Michael Torke’s Bronze for piano and orchestra, at Carnegie Hall in New York, by the American Composers Orchestra conducted by David Zinman and the composer as the soloist.


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